To our Building Bridges community:
After we made the heartbreaking decision to cancel our summer Middle East/U.S. program, we were overwhelmed by the kindness and support you showed us. We were excited to tell you about the 22 alumni who quickly came forward wanting to join us instead, adults from Israel and Palestine who wanted to reconnect, re-engage, and continue our work in a new way.
Sadly, multiple flight bans were put into place last week and we were forced to cancel even those alumni sessions. Our U.S. staff and facilitators were already on the way to Turkey, along with a couple of Israeli and Palestinian facilitators coming from places other than Tel Aviv. We decided not bring anyone else to Turkey because we can’t be sure that we could get them home safely. Additionally, we believe that the emotional fatigue caused by the ongoing and worsening conflict would make it challenging to do the work. Those facilitators who are in Turkey now are receiving advanced training in facilitation and program leadership, and are planning for the coming year, including:
- Using innovative on-line tools to allow our current participants to continue their cross-community work,
- Planning and recruiting for the MEUS 2015-17 program, and
- Growing and strengthening our Legacy alumni program.
It is a huge disappointment that the violence is preventing our work from happening in the way we had hoped, but our commitment is unwavering. It takes enormous strength and courage to seek out other perspectives in a time of conflict. Together, we must strive to make the voices of our participants, alumni and facilitators heard. They are the voices of people who do not wish to perpetuate the cycle of hatred and violence, and are seeking a different path.
We will keep you updated as the year progresses.
The Building Bridges Staff
Amani, Amy, Deme, Erin, Jen, Jes, Mimi, Rawan, Tulie, and Yafa
and the Building Bridges Board of Directors